Minister Lebouthillier announces Disability Advisory Committee
23 Nov, 2017, 15:13 ET
OTTAWA, Nov. 23, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The Government understands that living with a disability can have significant impacts on individuals and their families. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is committed to administer measures for persons with disabilities in a fair, transparent, and accessible way.
Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, announced that the Disability Advisory Committee, originally formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2006, is being re-instated to provide the CRA with a formalized means of collaborating with various stakeholders. Enhancing the accessibility of the CRA's services to persons with disabilities is an ongoing effort, which will be greatly assisted by the Committee's work.
Co-chaired by Frank Vermaeten, Assistant Commissioner of the CRA and Dr. Karen R. Cohen, CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association, the Committee will include persons with disabilities, advocates from disability and Indigenous communities, qualified health practitioners, and tax professionals.
Through the Committee, the CRA will work closely with stakeholders to ensure that it administers all measures for persons with disabilities fairly under the provisions of the Income Tax Act. The Committee will:
- advise the CRA on the needs and expectations of persons living with disabilities;
- review and provide feedback on the CRA's administrative practices; and
- make recommendations on how the CRA can enhance the quality of the service we provide to persons with disabilities.
The newly launched Disability Advisory Committee will include 12 members and will meet for the first time in 2018.
"We are committed to ensuring that all Canadians receive the credits and benefits they are entitled to. That is why we are reinstating the Disability Advisory Committee, a forum with a proven track-record of bringing Canada Revenue Agency officials together with stakeholders to ensure that Canadians with disabilities' views are better incorporated into CRA decision-making. Outreach and consultation are key, and I look forward to hearing the insights of the members of the Committee on ways we can improve access to our services for Canadians living with disabilities."
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue
- The Committee will play an important role in the CRA's continued efforts to enhance accessibility for persons with disabilities.
- The Committee will provide the CRA with feedback on the administration of several measures for Canadians living with disabilities, including the Child Disability Benefit, tax deductions such as attendant care expenses and allowable medical expenses, measures for caregivers of adult dependents, and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).
- The DTC is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities (or the family members who support them) to offset the costs of living with a disability.
- The CRA receives an average of more than 250,000 applications for the DTC each year. Over 80 per cent of these applications are approved.
- Last year, some 770,000 individuals claimed the credit for themselves. This represents more than $1.3 billion in tax relief in 2016-17.
Disability Advisory Committee
On November 23, 2017, the Minister of National Revenue announced that the Disability Advisory Committee is being re-instated. The Committee will be a way for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to connect with a wide range of stakeholders and take their views into account as we administer tax measures for people with disabilities.
The Committee's core role will be to provide advice to the Minister of National Revenue and the Commissioner of the CRA on the administration and interpretation of the laws and programs related to disability tax measures administered by the CRA, and on ways in which we can take into consideration the needs and expectations of the disability community as well as increase awareness and take-up of measures for people with disabilities.
The Committee will advise the CRA on how we can better inform people with disabilities and various stakeholders about tax measures and important administrative changes. The Committee will also review the CRA's administrative practices and make recommendations on how we can enhance the quality of our services for people with disabilities.
Committee Composition and Members' Roles
The Committee will be co-chaired by Frank Vermaeten, CRA Assistant Commissioner, and by Dr. Karen R. Cohen, CEO of the Canadian Psychological Association. The Committee will include 12 voluntary unpaid members including people with disabilities, qualified health practitioners, advocates from the disability and Indigenous communities, and professionals from a variety of fields, such as tax professionals and lawyers.
They will suggest relevant topics for discussion during meetings and will identify issues that the CRA should consider in the design of services. Members will also offer advice and recommendations on CRA services, products, policies, issues and initiatives that are presented to the Committee.
The Minister of National Revenue, along with the Commissioner of the CRA, will appoint the members and determine the length of their terms, which will last up to 48 months according to the Terms of Reference. Members will not be paid to attend meetings, but reasonable travel and accommodation expenses to attend meetings will be reimbursed.
The Committee will initially meet three times a year, with its first meeting expected to take place in 2018. To keep costs reasonable, members could also meet via video or teleconference instead of face-to-face, and consultations with stakeholders could be held online.
The CRA recognizes the importance of working collaboratively with stakeholders and hearing a range of perspectives to ensure that the CRA fully understands the challenges faced by people with disabilities that can be reflected in its administration of tax measures affecting individuals with disabilities. The Committee will help us to ensure that we consider Canadians' views in how we administer the range of tax measures for people living with disabilities.
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SOURCE Canada Revenue Agency
For further information: John Power, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Revenue, 613-995-2960; Media Relations, Canada Revenue Agency, 604-587-2533
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